suekay_87: (Default)
I'm just back from a few days in the south of England!

We travelled down by train on the 4th (first class woohoo!). Journey went fine until we got to Penrith (in Cumbria, near the Lake District), when the train stopped and didn't move again for 40 minutes. This meant we'd missed our connection in Crewe to get the faster train to London. Instead because of the delay we didn't have to change trains and we were rerouted onto the faster rail line, bypassing the Midlands stations. It meant we arrived in Euston 31 minutes late - meaning we qualified for the automatic 50% refund for journeys running 30 minutes late XD

We had dinner at a French Restaurant at Euston Station before going to St. Pancras and getting the high speed train to the Medway towns where we'd be staying visiting friends.

The next day we went to Leeds Castle (which isn't anywhere near the city of Leeds), and if you're ever in Kent I highly recommend it. The castle is set in 500 acres of formal gardens and woodland with streams and a boating lake and birdlife galore! We saw Black swans with their cygnets, Coots with their young, Moorhens with their young, Ducks with their ducklings, Barnacle geese, Greylag geese, Muscovy ducks, Whooper Swans and Peacocks among others. They're very tame and will demand to get fed if they spot you've got bird feed with you! The Castle itself is a little bit on the small side given the scope of the grounds, but definitely worth a visit (and there's something weird about standing in rooms that Henry VIII has been in!). They were getting ready for a classic car show when we were there so we got to have a good look at some Aston Martins parked at the castle.

In the grounds there's various other things as well - there's a bird of prey centre which we didn't have time to visit, boat rides, and various restaurants. I decided to have a go at their maze (always wanted to do one of those!) and while it took a bit of time, we got there in the end. Under the maze there's a network of caves which I'm almost certain are man-made, but they're cool nevertheless.

The only downside to the day was a labelling error on some food I had which left me feeling ill for the rest of the holiday - I went into a cafe on-site and picked up a toastie which was supposed to be Goats cheese, avocado and sun blushed tomatoes - inside the toastie appears to be Goats cheese, spinach, and some mystery sauce loaded with paprika. I'm intolerant to paprika. I took two bites and started feeling sick (plus I scalded my mouth (not because it was too hot, but because paprika). That night I was doubled with stomach cramps and spent the rest of the holiday running to and from the toilet. When I complained the guy just looked at me like he didn't understand what the fuss was about.

The next day we had an easier day, visiting Rochester and looking round some shops. I managed to do something I've always wanted to do in Rochester though - I went to the top of Rochester Castle! The castle is very imposing and offers impressive views over Rochester, Strood and the River Medway. Just be aware - it's not the best place to visit if you're not good with heights!! And it's a total of 199 steps to the top!

After that we went out for dinner in Chatham with our friends.

The next day we went into Chatham to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (it was so awesome, but...but I won't spoil it). And we pottered about the Quays where I visited the Cadbury shop (!!!!!!!), after that it was back to our hotel for one last meal before having an early night.

Then it was time to go home! We got the High Speed back to St. Pancras and then got the train back to Glasgow (Cattle class on the way home (never again...)).

And then we were home!

Some piccies:



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suekay_87

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